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Commencement Speaker

  • Harry Hairston

    Harry HairsonHarry Hairston earned his bachelor's degree from Gannon College in 1977. He recently retired as senior investigative reporter for NBC10 Philadelphia, where he worked for 17 years.

    Hairston received multiple Mid-Atlantic Emmy® awards during his career with NBC10. Hairston was the first to report on the sexual allegations filed against actor and comedian, Bill Cosby. In 2015, he also became the first in the nation to report aggravated indecent sexual assault charges filed against Cosby. Hairston's reporting also heavily influenced and helped strengthen New Jersey's anti-swatting laws. In 2013, he received a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® award for his investigative series uncovering candy drop box scammers, which led to their arrest and conviction. His reporting led to stronger accountability processes within City Hall after he exposed how Philadelphia officials could not account for $21 million in missing items purchased with taxpayers' money.

    In 2012, Hairston received a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® for his exclusive jailhouse interview with Rabbi Fred Neulander, who was serving time inside New Jersey's maximum-security state prison for the 1994 murder of his wife. Hairston received another Emmy in 2012 for his exclusive report on a New Jersey schoolteacher who bullied a special needs student in class, garnering national and international attention.

    In 2011, Hairston was named "Journalist of the Year" by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, and in 2008 he garnered a Mid-Atlantic Emmy® for "Best General Assignment Reporter". Some of Hairston's other notable stories include elaborate internet romance scams and the uncovering of a "cell phone jammer" who was travelling on Philadelphia commuter buses jamming other commuters' phones

    Hairston's passion is to be the voice for those who feel that they aren't being heard. Through his work with NBC10 Responds, he has helped viewers with consumer issues gain back more than $1 million.

    Hairston is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa. He participates in many community causes around heart disease, cancer research, mental health research and education, diversity and community improvement. Hairston also supports the dedication of first responders. His hobbies include playing golf and tennis and riding motorcycles.